Not content with the success of The Avengers and their acquisition of Marvel Studios in 2009, for a small sum of $4.05 billion, Walt Disney Studios have just acquired another fairly well known film production company, Lucasfilm. The next announcement left the Twitterverse in stunned disbelief. The new alliance forged between Lucasfilm and Disney will be releasing Star Wars Episode VII in 2015 “with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.”
This has come as a bit of a surprise, with the original creator of the franchise and company CEO George Lucas recently announcing his retirement from filmmaking. However, having provided several treatments for later episodes in the franchise, it would appear Lucas still has a few stories to tell, but just doesn’t want to sit in the cockpit this time, instead taking on an advisory role as a creative consultant. On the company’s new home within the Disney organisation, Lucas was quoted in Disney’s press release with saying, “For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime.”
Overshadowed by the larger aspects of the company’s announcement last night, Lucas stated that he will be handing leadership of the corporation over to Kathleen Kennedy, the current co-chairman of Lucasfilm, who will oversee this next phase as the series’ executive producer. Under Kennedy’s guidance Disney plan to release a seventh Star Wars film as the first instalment in a new trilogy, which will be followed by episodes eight and nine and then one new movie roughly every two to three years after.
“I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”
Disney’s Robert Iger reiterated this interest in establishing new Star Wars TV shows, theme park attractions and video games. Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm also includes the Indiana Jones franchise, but for the moment the company have no plans for expanding Lucas’ other popular properties and will be focusing solely on new additions to the Star Wars saga.